We've found a unique indicator of what could be a bursting bubble in higher education - yet another sector of the economy where government meddling has driven up costs across the decades.
Short story: Mamas, don't let your babies don't grow up to be language or literature professors.
The Modern Language Association forecasts that new faculty positions for teachers of Dreiser and deconstructionism are down 37% from 2008... and the 2008 figure was down 26% from 2007.
Students thinking of going to graduate school in English should understand that right now their chance of landing a job that provides them a livable wage is 50-60%, the MLA's Rosemary Feal tells The New York Times. What I often hear from grad students is, 'I had no clue it was this bad.' Especially if their concentration is 20th-century American literature, where a single opening gets up to 400 applicants.
We don't say this just to snicker at the job prospects of humanities students. (Indeed, we have a soft spot, having majored in philosophy.) Again, we suspect this is an early sign of a bursting bubble in higher education - where costs rose at an even higher clip than housing for much of the last 25 years. Like all good bubbles, it must come to an end. The 32% tuition increase at the University of California system could be the sign of higher education's final blowoff rally.
(Oh, and now they're talking about a 1% tuition tax to help reduce the state's budget deficit. You can't make this stuff up.)